Shannon Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.

faculty photo
Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Department: Cell and Developmental Biology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
1111 BRB II/III
421 Curie Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 898-7886
Fax: (215) 898-9871
Education:
B.S. (Chemistry)
Purdue University, 1985.
Ph.D. (Neuroscience)
Johns Hopkins University, 1993.
M.D.
Johns Hopkins University, 1993.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Skeletal development in the vertebrate embryo; transcriptional regulation and genome evolution

Key words
zebrafish, bone, cartilage, transcription factors, comparative genomics

Description of Research
The patterning and formation of the skeleton lends form and function to all vertebrate organisms; the maintenance and remodeling of bone in the adult is a striking example of tissue homeostasis via stem cells. We are taking genetic and cellular approaches in the zebrafish to understand both the early events in skeletal development and the regeneration of bone in the adult after injury. We have developed lines of transgenic zebrafish expressing fluorescent proteins in bone and cartilage, allowing us to visualize the establishment of the skeleton in live fish. We have also developed a method to trace cell lineages in the zebrafish, and used it to establish the contribution of neural crest to the skeleton.

Double transgenic embryo expressing egfp in cartilage and rfp in bone.


GFP expression marks neural crest descendents in a 2-day zebrafish embryo.


A second area of focus is in comparative genomics, examining how the sequences regulating transcription of important skeletal genes have evolved and function in diverse organisms. We have developed a highly efficient approach using zebrafish transgenesis to identify and study regulatory sequences, from the genomes of zebrafish and of distantly related species like human and mouse. We are applying this approach on a large scale to identify enhancers that control expression in skeletal tissues. These regulatory elements provide insight into the signaling pathways that control bone and cartilage formation, and variants in their sequence and function are likely to contribute to human diseases affecting the skeleton.

Rotation projects
Identify the regulatory elements for a gene important in skeletal development or associated with a human genetic disease, using zebrafish transgenesis
Describe an aspect of bone and cartilage formation using time-lapse microscopy, in wild-type or mutant zebrafish
Build and test constructs to aid in development of new technologies to manipulate the zebrafish genome


Lab personnel
Erika Kague, postdoctoral researcher
Gui Hu, research specialist
Michelle Kanther, postdoctoral fellow
Jaqueline Simonet, postdoctoral fellow
Nicolette Sookar, student worker

Selected Publications

Kague, E., Gallagher, M., Burke, S., Parsons, M., Franz-Odendaal, T., Fisher S.: Skeletogenic Fate of Zebrafish Cranial and Trunk Neural Crest. PLoS One 7: e47394, Nov 2012.

Fisher, S., Franz-Odendaal, T.: Evolution of the bone gene regulatory network. Curr Opin Genet Dev 22(4): 390-7, Aug 2012.

Hu, G., Codina, M., Fisher, S.: Multiple enhancers associated with ACAN suggest highly redundant transcriptional regulation in cartilage. Matrix Biology 31: 328-37, Jul 2012.

Gui, H., Goll, M.G., Fisher, S.: ΦC31 Integrase Mediates Efficient Cassette Exchange in the Zebrafish Germline. Developmental Dynamics 240(9): 2101-7, Sep 2011.

Knopf, F., Hammond, C., Chekuru, A., Kurth, T., Hans, S., Weber, C. W., Mahatma, G., Fisher, S., Brand, M., Schulte-Merker, S., Weidinger, G.: Bone regenerates via dedifferentiation of osteoblasts in the zebrafish fin. Developmental Cell 20(5): 713-24, May 2011.

Kague, E., Bessling, S. L., Lee, J., Hu, G., Passos-Bueno, M. R., Fisher, S.: Functionally conserved cis-regulatory elements of COL18A1 identified through zebrafish transgenesis. Developmental Biology 337(2): 496-505, Jan 2010.

Brown, A. M., Fisher, S., Iovine, M. K.: Osteoblast maturation occurs in overlapping proximal-distal compartments during fin regeneration in zebrafish. Developmental Dynamics 238(11): 2922-8, Nov 2009.

Fisher, S.*, Grice, E. A., Vinton, R. M., Bessling, S. L., McCallion, A. S.*: Conservation of RET regulatory function from human to zebrafish without sequence similarity. Science 312(5771): 276-9, Apr 2006 Notes: *co-corresponding authors

Xie, J., Fisher, S.: Twisted gastrulation enhances BMP signaling through chordin dependent and independent mechanisms. Development 132(2): 383-91, Jan 2005.

Fisher, S.*, Jagadeeswaran, P., Halpern, M. E.: Radiographic analysis of zebrafish skeletal defects. Developmental Biology 264(1): 64-76, Dec 2003 Notes: *corresponding author.

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Last updated: 11/06/2014
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